When I finished episode three of the second season of The Walking Dead game, I thought, "Well, that sure was an episode of The Walking Dead."
Mild zombie- and jacket-related spoilers follow.
I think that, like our young protagonist Clementine, I've gotten too hardened, too young. I've seen so many people die, witnessed so many betrayals and unexpected zombie attacks that I've grown inured to the whole thing. That seems a likely explanation for why I was mostly unmoved and a little bored by the new episode, which is out this week for pretty much every gaming platform except the PS4 and Xbox One.
But whatever, zombies and death and murder, blah blah, the important thing is that CLEMENTINE GOT A SUPER AWESOME NEW JACKET:
I wasn't sold on it at first but eventually, I mean, look at it:
IT HAS A RAINBOW
So: Good jacket, middling episode. I think the (actual) reason I didn't really like episode 3 was that it relied way too heavily on under-explained character motivation, rushed pacing, contrived scenarios, and genre clichés. There is literally a scene where the main bad guy sits Clementine down and says, in as many words, "We're not so different, you and I." I'm going to have to start keeping a scorecard of games that trot that one out.
The episode, titled "In Harm's Way," was certainly no match for the terrific third episode of season one, and while it moved us one step closer toward… somewhere, I can't help but worry that the series' narrative has lost its way.
Hopefully Telltale can keep their focus on Clementine and her struggle to hold on to her humanity, since my decision to have her stay and watch a violent murder at near the end of the episode felt more important than any of the contrived creeping and sneaking I had her do in the hours preceding it.
We'll see how it goes, but for now, I'm getting the sense that season 2 might not quite know where it's going.
Some other thoughts, aided by images:
It's too bad they had to take Kenny and once again make him into the "snappy dude who wants to do shit that no one else in the group wants to do." I'm pretty sick of that Kenny. I already miss the chilled out, happy Kenny from episode 2.
Dear Telltale: Between The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us, you are officially overdoing it with the "Make players mash the "A" button but make it so they can't succeed then bail them out with a scripted event" trick. It was fun the first time, but it's gotten to the point where I just kind of give up because I know I can't win and the game will eventually save me.
"We're not so different, you and I. Well, your jacket is cooler. But other than that, we're pretty similar."
Nice to hear the always-funny Kumail Nanjiani, since I've been enjoying him on HBO's Silicon Valley. That said, I found the writing and his performance distracting and a bit hammy, since all I could hear was the actor, not the balding one-armed guy he was playing.
This dude is the literal worst, god.
Also the worst: Sarah, who I'm 100% ready to use as walker-bait. Girl, you need to get with the program. Game, you need to stop making me feel guilty for not being able to take care of her and keep Clem alive at the same time. I know that sometime in episode four or five, I'm going to have to make a decision about whether or not to save her or let her die. Let's get on with it.
See? The jacket even looks cool in the middle of an awkward action sequence.
I thought I'd open up a thread to anyone who's played the episode to talk about it in the comments, but first, a poll: